James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
They may be running for second coming up against star colt Pierro on Friday night, but progressive three-year-old Jimando will use the Bill Stutt Stakes as an early lead-up into either the Caulfield Guineas 2012 or the 2012 Victoria Derby later this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Tony McEvoy’s Commands colt has been in flying form this time in, the Adelaide youngster unbeaten from two early spring starts.
After a first-up win at Morphettville the Blue Diamond Stakes fourth place-getter won again at Flemington on September 8 when beating home a decent field in the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed (1400m).
“He’d missed a trial before that win, so it was very pleasing,” he said.
“It really bought him on as well.”
They now go to Moonee Valley for the first time on Friday night for the $220,000 Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) which will be headlined by odds-on favourite Pierro.
Gai Waterhouse’s undefeated Golden Slipper winner and Cox Plate 2012 top elect Pierro is obviously the horse to beat, and while McEvoy doesn’t expect Jimando to do that, he is looking for a good run from his galloper to indicate where to next this spring.
“If he’s competitive against Pierro, we’ll go to the Caulfield Guineas,” McEvoy said.
“If not, it’ll be the Derby.
“He just might not be sharp enough for the Guineas.
“His dam’s side has the Derby written all over it.”
The $1 million Group 1 The Age Caulfield Guineas (1600m) runs on October 13, second acceptances for which will be released this afternoon.
Pierro is the $2.10 Caulfield Guineas betting favourite at bookmaker.com.au while Jimando is a $51 outsider in the current markets.
The $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) meanwhile runs at Flemington Racecourse on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Saturday November 3, nominations due out today.
McEvoy is even more excited about Jimando’s prospects looking further ahead, their pedigree suggesting they will come on again as a four-year-old.
“He didn’t look like he’d be a two-year-old when I bought him and I think he’s only just arriving as a horse,” he said.
“By next autumn he’ll be something else.”
Jimando, from Caerleon mare Finko, worked with their stablemate Saint Desir at Moonee Valley this week and the way they handled the notoriously tight circuit impressed McEvoy.
“To see him get around Moonee Valley as well as he did is very encouraging,” the trainer said.
Waterhouse on the other hand opted not to give Pierro a pre-Stutt Stakes gallop at Moonee Valley saying the brilliant Lonhro colt was ready as is to score his eighth career success from as many starts.
“He doesn’t need to look at it,” Waterhouse said.
“He goes straight there on Friday night. He’s spot-on.”
Fields for the Moonee Valley night races are due out tomorrow including that for the 2012 City Jeep Bill Stutt Stakes.
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